Of course birds let you get closer when you're in a car. That's as true at Stewart Park and along any back road as it is in Montezuma. I do a ton of observation and photography from my car, sometimes even in my own driveway.
That's great for one person, but it stinks for groups. Having to remain in a car on the wildlife drive diminishes the possible experience of any group, especially a group with a scope, which cannot be used by multiple people (the best teaching tool for groups). It also diminishes the potential experience for kids and anyone who would like to get out and get a closer look. I'm hearing a lot of 1%-er talk, "I want to optimize my experience, and the riff-raff should just stay away (or stay in their cars)." I am as guilty (or more) as anyone of wanting to have the entire refuge to myself. But in the bigger picture, I don't see having too many people enjoying nature at Montezuma as the problem. I think it's quite the opposite: there are too FEW people learning about nature there. Those of us interested in nature and supportive of the National Wildlife Refuge system should want EVERYONE to get out of their cars and poke around. I WANT people to peer through the reeds and see a turtle (or maybe a rail). I WANT people to stop and take pictures of the flowers. I WANT people to get out and marvel at a muskrat mound, and then have a young Bald Eagle fly over their heads. (It's hard to look up from a back seat.) In my personal opinion, anything that reduces the availability of wildlife watching and nature exploration for the general public is a bad thing. Of course safety measures should be in place to protect the wildlife and the habitat. But access and education should be the default. Unless you have a darned good reason, please don't keep me and my kids (and neighbors, and parents, and friends) out. Kevin Kevin McGowan Ithaca, NY -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --